Those who thought the election of Barack Obama would make the world love us must be pretty disappointed. Few expressed their love for Obama more fervently than the French, but Obama’s election was not enough to put an end to the whining we have become used to hearing from them. Over the weekend Cassy Fiano wrote about French whining about our relief efforts in Haiti.
France’s international cooperation minister, Alain Joyandet, even accused Washington of trying to “occupy” Haiti and urged the United Nations to investigate.
… Joyandet complained after a French aid flight carrying a field hospital was turned back from Port-au-Prince’s overtaxed airport last week. The angry minister reportedly got into a physical confrontation with the U.S. official in charge of air traffic control. The French plane landed safely the next day.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy intervened quickly, praising Washington’s “exceptional mobilization” and “essential role … on the ground” in Haiti. But the whole row was embarrassing, especially with so many Haitians still suffering.This is not the first case of post-Bush French whining about the United States (especially that aimed at the U.S. military). In the fall, France whined about our Afghanistan policy and said they would not send in additional troops. In November, France whined about U.S. action (or inaction) on a climate change agreement. More recently, the French company Airbus complained about U.S. Air Force specifications for aerial refueling tankers and the associated bidding process.
Regardless of how familiar we have come to be with French criticism, the accusations of Haiti “occupation” are beyond the pale considering the situation there — how desperately we are needed and how our help is appreciated by the people of Haiti. Those jokes we’ve all heard through the years about “fine, French whine” don’t even begin to touch this latest case in point.